All businesses, no matter their size, aim to maximize their marketing budget. But for small businesses, with little to no financial elbow-room, it can mean the difference between profit and failure. Here are 10 tips for creating high impact marketing on a small business budget.
1. Forget flash, shoot for highest return on spend
Perhaps all businesses fantasize about being able to have one of those cool Super Bowl Advertising slots. However, even an ad seen by countless people does not necessarily translate into sales. Which means, one priority must be only spending money that will produce a good return.
2. Focus entirely on your target customers
In general, customers need to hear your message about 7 times if you’re going to influence their buying decision so spending money outside your target audience is probably not worthwhile.
3. Reinforce your message across channels
When potential customers see the same message on your site, in a brochure, on Twitter and your blog, it has a higher impact than when they only see it from one source.
4. Become newsworthy
Do something newsworthy so the media advertises for you. For instance, work toward a good cause and alert the newspapers.
5. Join forces with someone else
Joint ventures can be a key for small businesses. So, form teams with other companies to maximize your bang for buck. For instance, share a booth at a trade show or get all the businesses on your block to create a special day where customers get a special deal in all the stores.
6. Don’t underestimate word of mouth
This is perhaps the most important aspect of your marketing. Word of mouth referrals is not only cost effective, but more powerful than anything you can say. So, once you have a customer do everything you can so they are a satisfied customer and are happy to refer you.
7. If it works, stick with it
If you have a campaign or method that is working, don’t change it just because you are ready for something new. Keep it going as long as you’re getting good results.
8. Create versatile literature
Many parts of a brochure are the same across all your customer segments – for instance the technical specifications. So design your brochures and other printed products to be “modular.” Which means, keep your standard sections the same, and then swap out copy and images only on the market specific sections.
9. Organic search
Do your best to keep your keywords relevant and consistent in all your online content even while you aim for fresh content. Remember, time in the sandbox (how long you’ve been there) is very important for doing well with search engine results. For low budgets you need to view this as a tortoise and hare kind of thing – you’ll get there, just stick with it.
10. Use freelancers with the right skill set
Pay for freelancers that have the skill set you need – no more, and no less. You don’t want to hire a designer just because they are cheap if they can’t do a good job with that front-facing literature which is a potential customer’s first impression. However, neither do you need to pay top dollar if you’re designing an employee newsletter. So, know the skill set you need for the particular task and hire appropriately.
- About.com: Low-Budget High-Impact Marketing Plan
- Entrepreneur: 10 Ways to Stretch Your Marketing Budget